Medical Research

Tragic. High Cost of Failing Artificial Hips

Kristen Sparrow • December 28, 2011

To be filed under “Follow the Money.” This has got to be horrendous for patients since you know that the insurance company’s costs will be reimbursed first since they can hire more lawyers. And to have to be dealing with these kinds of financial issues and law suits when you’re not feeling well. Horrible. Some excerpts follow. I’ve been following this story for the 6 months and it follows the typical trajectory of the companies ignoring complaints, blaming the physicians and then finally having to cop to the problem. Not good. Not good at all. Recent blog post on topic here.
The High Cost of Failing Artificial Hips

The most widespread medical implant failure in decades — involving thousands of all-metal artificial hips that need to be replaced prematurely — has entered the money phase.

Medical and legal experts estimate the hip failures may cost taxpayers, insurers, employers and others billions of dollars in coming years, contributing to the soaring cost of health care. The financial fallout is expected to be unusually large and complex because the episode involves a class of products, not a single device or just one company…

The incidents have set off a financial scramble. Recently, lawsuits and complaints against makers of all-metal replacement hips passed the 5,000 mark. Insurers are alerting patients that they plan to recover their expenses from any settlement money that patients receive. Medicare is also expected to try to recover its costs…
Still, some patients are weathering some of the financial impacts on their own. While Charmin McCune, a teacher in Wylie, Tex., is recuperating well from a recent replacement operation, she said that she and her husband, also a teacher, have had more than $12,000 in expenses that have not been covered by insurance.

Information on my practice here.